South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System (ICS) has an additional £2.5m investment, to bring mental health services in Sheffield closer to people’s homes and better join up mental health support services.

The ICS, with partners NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust, Primary Care Sheffield, Sheffield MIND and Sheffield City Council, put in a bid for the funding to put mental health services into Sheffield neighbourhoods, closer to where people live and more aligned to their GP practices.

Services will be transformed so that there will be ‘no wrong door’ for mental health services, meaning wherever patients try to get their support they will be seamlessly supported to get what they need, rather than referred to another agency. It will reduce waits for personality disorder and specialist therapy services; and a series of new roles for supporting improved mental health will be created. The funding will also support improvements to the eating disorder services in the city.

It is envisaged that over the two years of funding every Primary Care Network (which is a series of GP practices working together to provide more specialist services for their local community) will have dedicated community mental health care. This will be supported by an expanded and more joined up workforce from health, social care and voluntary sector organisations to offer the additional wraparound care that patients may need.

Sir Andrew Cash, Chief Executive of South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System said: “We are delighted that this funding has been granted, which will help to fundamentally change the way care, support and treatment for mental health conditions is provided across the city. Improving mental health services, and increasing health services in local communities are priorities for the ICS.”

Dr Fiona Goudie Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Director for Strategic Partnership at Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust NHS Foundation Trust said: “This money is a game changer for people with complex mental health issues in our city. It will be used to ensure that people with mental health problems are seen more quickly, in familiar surroundings of either their GP surgery or another place in the community. The mental health workers will work in close contact with GPs, nurses and the voluntary sector to make sure that patients get everything from access to local clubs and activities, to the right medication and psychological support, to help with finding a job. This is a real boost for the city’s health economy too as we will be creating around 40 new jobs.   We are extremely proud to be part of this ambitious new way of working, Sheffield will be a beacon to inspire other locations by placing mental health treatment at the heart of communities.”

Access to services will be easier, with patients able to refer themselves into the services they need, and easier ways for GPs to refer. Patients will be offered greater choice of how to access and receive treatment through the expanded use of digital therapies and technology.  

The model sees the introduction of new roles such as community connectors, and mental health pharmacists. Expert By experience peer worker roles, working as and alongside community connectors  and health champions will deliver low level interventions and one to one and group support, focusing on the social determinants of ill health such as maximising benefits, addressing practical concerns, reducing social isolation, and  enhancing physical health. These roles will ensure that the right intervention is undertaken at the right time plus they will increase skills at a local level.

It is envisaged the increased workforce will offer more holistic care and improve links with housing, social services, specialist employment support workers, education and the police with the aim of developing an integrated approach to the management of the mental (and physical) health of patients outside of specialist care pathways.    

The funding will also help improve local Eating Disorders services by making sure a single, all age service is provided in one location. This will promote prevention through focusing much more on early identification and a single point of access which will ensure that individuals are able to access the most appropriate care, treatment and support without the need for continuous onward referral and multiple assessments. This will be supported by an online support function which will provide 24 hour access to help and advice.

Jim Millns, Deputy Director for Mental Health Transformation at NHS Sheffield CCG: “The announcement that we’ve been successful in our bid to improve community and primary care mental health is fantastic news for the people of Sheffield. It will allow us to develop services that are holistic, person centred and focused on intervening as early as possible when an individual becomes unwell. We are also keen to ensure that we continue to focus on prevention which will help make Sheffield a mentally healthy city; a place where mental illness is given equal priority to physical illness, where stigma does not exist, where people can easily ask for and receive help and support and where we actively support mental well-being.”